Web-Braille is an Internet, web-based service that provides, in an electronic format, many braille books and all braille magazines produced by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). The Web-Braille site is password-protected and all files are in an electronic form of grade 2 braille, a format requiring the use of special equipment for access.
Web-Braille contains the full text of thousands of NLS-produced braille books and all braille magazines currently produced by NLS.
Books. The books currently available through Web-Braille include press-braille books produced by NLS since 1992. A few hundred older titles are also available. Titles not included are grade 1, foreign-language, and print/braille books. NLS adds new books to Web-Braille as they are approved for shipment.
Magazines. Beginning May 2001, all NLS-produced braille magazines became available on Web-Braille. Magazine files are normally available from the Web-Braillesite within one working day after the hardcopy magazine is shipped to readers.
Copyright laws require that access to Web-Braille be limited to NLS patrons and eligible institutions. Access outside the United States, except to eligible American citizens, is not permitted.
Eligible institutions include:
Schools for the blind;
Public or private schools providing braille to blind children, whether the school is set up as a special-format deposit collection or as an institutional patron; and Nonprofit organizations whose primary purpose is to produce braille books for the use of eligible readers in the U.S. Some examples are instructional materials resource centers and nonprofit transcribing agencies.
Agencies may use Web-Braille files only to produce braille copies. Under current copyright law, agencies may not make large-print or unencrypted e-text versions of books without the permission of the copyright holder.
To register for Web-Braille, eligible program users must first contact their cooperating network library and provide the library with an e-mail address and a six-to-eight-character password. When the subscription is activated, the new subscriber will receive access instructions by e-mail.
Web-Braille books may be located in two ways:
Online Catalog. Links to Web-Braille books are included in the NLS online catalog. This catalog is located at www.loc.gov/nls/web-blnd/advancedsearch.html
To retrieve Web-Braille titles only, put the words "web braille" (as two words with no hyphen) in the "annotation, notes, contents" field. The results list will contain a link to each volume of a Web-Braille title. When a Web-Braille volume is selected, the user will be prompted for a Web-Braille user ID and password.
Braille Book Review. The web version of each issue of Braille Book Review published since July-August 1999 contains links to all new braille books available on Web-Braille. The online version of Braille Book Review can be accessed from the main Web-Braille page or from www.loc.gov/nls/bbr
Web-Braille files are in grade 2 braille ASCII format. Each file represents one volume of a braille book or magazine and is named with the book's BR number and volume number and has a ".brf" file extension. For example, volume 2 of BR 12345 will have the filename "12345v02.brf".
Web-Braille files may be read online or downloaded for viewing offline or embossing with a braille display, braille-aware notetaker, or braille embosser.
Web-Braille technical support is provided through a series of "frequently asked questions." These FAQs are accessible from the main Web-Braille page.